Will Alain Vigneault Ever Lead The New York Rangers To A Stanley Cup Championship?


Will New York Rangers’ head coach, Alain Vigneault, ever lead the Rangers to a Stanley Cup championship or will he always be just a regular season coach?

New York Rangers‘ head coach, Alain Vigneault, just over the last 5 seasons, has won 3 Presidents’ Trophies, tying him with the single greatest hockey mind of all time, Scotty Bowman.  The difference between the two coaches, however, is that Bowman has also coached different teams to multiple Stanley Cup championships while Vigneault is 0 for 2 in the Stanley Cup Final with a below .500 playoff record.

Will Vigneault ever get the postseason monkey off of his back and lead the Rangers to a Stanley Cup championship?  How about any team for that matter?

New York Rangers
New York Rangers /

New York Rangers

While this question cannot possibly be answered for sure right now, Vigneault does consistently make unexplained decisions, whether before or in game, that always seems to cost his team rather than help them win.

For example, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night between the Rangers and
Tampa Bay Lightning, Vigneault decided to dress 7th defenseman Matt Hunwick over 4th line forward James Sheppard, leaving him with only 11 forwards in the biggest game of the season.

Now granted, Rangers’ captain
Ryan McDonagh was playing hurt, and was later revealed to the public that he was playing with a broken foot, so I understand why you might be forced to start 7 defensemen for that Game 7.  However, why sit Sheppard, who scored a big goal for the Rangers in Game 6 and start
Tanner Glass, who has only scored 1 goal all season?

I know Glass brings a physical presence to the Rangers but besides a few isolated incidents in Game 7, there was hardly any hitting from both teams.  So if the game plan was not to be overly physical, why wouldn’t you scratch Glass instead for Hunwick?

All season long, Vigneault seemed to have to strange infatuation with Glass that no matter how poorly he was playing, Vigneault refused to scratch him from the starting lineup.  I can’t really explain it but it is what it is.

Now in the Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Lightning as a whole, the Rangers went 1-3 at home.  In the postseason it is so important to win your home games, not just for the fans, but because you worked hard throughout the regular season to gain home ice advantage and when you have home ice you get last change, meaning you get change lines before a face off last so you can get the matchups you want.  And in games when the Rangers had last change, they ended up squandering this advantage by losing 3 out of 4 at home.  In my opinion, although being a different sport, losing home games in the playoffs is like losing games in tennis in which you are the server.

Also this isn’t even the first time Vigneault has lost a do or die Game 7 at home.  When he was the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, Vigneault led them to the Stanley Cup Final, after winning the Presidents’ Trophy, just to lose the Cup on home ice in Game 7.

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Vigneault’s poor decisions, both before and during games, and his inability to take advantages of matchups on home ice is very alarming and why I believe he will not only not win the Stanley Cup with the Rangers but I feel he will never win the Stanley Cup in his coaching career.

Just like Rangers’ forward,
Rick Nash, who is a regular season player, Vigneault is a regular season coach.

Now of course anything can happen in the future and Vigneault could win a Stanley Cup with the Rangers, however, I think this could only be possible if he takes a long, hard look at himself and realizes his shortcoming as a head coach.  There is nothing necessarily wrong with his coaching strategy but he needs to seriously work on his personnel decisions and in game matchups and adjustments if he ever wants to hoist the Stanley Cup one day.

Next: Will Henrik Lundqvist Ever Win A Stanley Cup In His Career?

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